Learn how to reduce the risk of wildfire damage to your property and home by maintaining healthy forests. Forestry experts will discuss fire history and forest health basics. Discussion will include techniques to keep your forested land healthy and create defensible space around your home as well as the technical and financial assistance programs available to help you get the work done.
When: Saturday, January 11 from 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Cashmere Riverside Center; 201 Riverside Dr., Cashmere, WA.
For additional information and to register call (509) 664-9370
Good news – the Small Forest Landowner Office has filled our last vacancy! On November 1st, Julie Sackett joined us as the Southwest Washington Landowner Assistance Forester.
Scottish Highland Cattle
Before joining DNR 13 years ago, Julie worked in private industry and led her own forestry consulting business. She and her husband own what they’ve affectionately named Soggy Bottom Farm, with 30 acres of forestland and an additional 30 acres of agricultural lands where they raise Scottish Highland cattle.
Julie began her career in forestry in the early 80’s when she obtained an Associate of Science Degree in Forest Technology from Green River Community College. She also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from The Evergreen State College with an emphasis in environmental studies (ecology and conservation biology) and a Certificate in Wetland Science and Management from the University of Washington. Julie says that her “…true love is the woods and the people who live and work within them – it is a privilege for me to be a Stewardship Forester serving the small forest landowners in Washington State.”
Julie will serve the Puget Sound area south of I-90 in King County, south of SR 104 in Jefferson County and all of the southwest Washington counties. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 360-902-2903.
Alternate plans allow small forest landowners more site-specific flexibility than the standard Forest Practices Rules. DNR has recently added templates to our Alternate Plans website to help landowners in western Washington develop a fixed width riparian management zone and to address overstocked stands. Both templates are used in conjunction with the Forest Practices Application Alternate Plan Form, and both require consultation with your DNR forester to:
- Assess the riparian function provided by your forest stand; and
- Discuss approaches that will maintain riparian function over time.
Our Alternate Plans website also provides templates for eastern Washington fire salvage, maintaining forest health, dealing with overstocked stands, and riparian restoration.
DNR Southeast Region Landowner Assistance District Manager
The Southeast Region Landowner Assistance Program has undergone some exciting changes in the last few months! For several years the program consisted of only two full time staff (Joe Weeks, Coordinator and Matt Eberlein) providing stewardship, fuels and Firewise project assistance to small landowners in all 15 of the Region’s counties. Although the Region’s Forest Practice Foresters helped out as time allowed, Matt’s departure last December left a large void in the program….but like they say, “when one door closes, another opens.”
That door opened when we received an influx of Forest Service monies for staff and project cost shares. In June I was fortunate enough to be hired as the first Landowner Assistance District Manager the program has ever had, and Joe Weeks and I began hiring staff. It has taken us three months to get fully staffed, but it’s been worth it – we’re up and running and eager to be of service! In addition to myself (email@example.com, 509-925-0963), our program consists of:
- Joe Weeks (firstname.lastname@example.org, 509-925-0972) – Joe has been the Landowner Assistance Coordinator for the past 12 to 13 years. He’s been the glue that held it all together and has a wealth of knowledge to pass on to all of us new folks.
- Jeanne Christensen (email@example.com, 509-925-0974) – Jeanne is our Natural Resources Technician and is our the point person for talking with prospective clients, handling billings and invoices, and all the other tasks that make an office run smoothly.
- Scott Chambers (firstname.lastname@example.org, 509-925-0929 – Scott was hired in July as the Fuels/Stewardship Forester in Kittitas and Yakima counties.
- Cindi Tonasket (email@example.com, 509-379-0932) – Cindi is also new to the program and is the Fuels/Stewardship Forester for Chelan and Douglas counties.
- Dan Lennon (firstname.lastname@example.org, 509-773-5588) – Dan is the Fuels/Stewardship Forester in east Klickitat County and has been there for just over a year.
- Jesse Calkins (email@example.com, 509-493-3218 x223) – Our veteran of the program, Jesse works mostly Stewardship in west Klickitat and east Skamania counties and has been helping landowners for over 30 years.
- Tom Schoenfelder (firstname.lastname@example.org, 509-607-6204) – Service Forester for the Blue Mountains, Tom is also the Forest Practice Forester and the Fire Forester for the same working area, which means he has three supervisors!
So what’s next? While I’m sure there will be some struggles along the way, we’re committed to building the program and making it strong and productive, as well as a fun place to work. The most exciting thing for all of us is that for the first time we’ll be able to provide the services that our region’s small forest landowners need and want.
Forest Health Specialist, Department of Natural Resources
Every year thousands of acres of forestland in eastern Washington are damaged by a variety of native insects and diseases, making dead and dying trees an all too familiar sight. The problem? Forests that are too dense and planted with an incorrect mix of species. Over the last 100 years, the change from ponderosa pine dominated forests to those dominated by Douglas fir has led to an abundance of weakened trees and stand conditions that favor damaging outbreaks of western spruce and pine bark beetles.
Before (left) and after thinning (right)
The good news is that we know how to fight back and make our forests more resilient – thinning! Reducing tree density and leaving healthy, well adapted trees provides our forests the best chance to defend themselves from whatever Mother Nature is going to throw their way, whether it is pine bark beetles, fire, or drought. Thinning also ensures that the remaining trees have the water, nutrients, and sunlight needed to maintain their health.
Forest health hazard warning areas shown in red.
In August 2012 the Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark, issued a Forest Health Hazard Warning for portions of Okanogan, Ferry, Klickitat and Yakima counties. The purpose was to focus attention, resources, and voluntary landowner actions on addressing eastern Washington’s forest health concerns. DNR worked closely with the state legislature to secure $1.25 million in funding in the 2013-2015 biennium to begin that work. These state funds are an investment to help landowners cover up to 50 percent of the cost for practices such as thinning, slash disposal, and pruning, which improve forest health by reducing fuels. DNR is committed to improving forest health in eastern Washington. Forest landowners interested in having a forester assess the health of their forests should contact their local DNR Landowner Assistance Program. The forester can make recommendations for improving forest health, reducing the risk of wildfire, and applying for cost-share. If you own land in:
- Okanogan County or Ferry County, contact DNR’s Northeast Region Landowner Assistance Program at 509-684-7474.
- Klickitat County or Yakima County, contact DNR’s Southeast Region Landowner Assistance Program at 509-925-8510.
Landowners in these counties can also fill out an online Eastern Washington Forest Landowner Cost-Share Application.
Additional forest health information is available online on DNR’s Forest Health Hazard Warning Landowner Assistance Center web page.
Forest Health Program Manager
DNR, Resource Protection Division
DNR Communications Manager
For the record: DNR does not release yellow jackets. But every few years a persistent rumor circulates, especially in northeastern Washington, that DNR has intentionally released yellow jackets as biological control agents to kill forest pests. People call to complain about the supposed practice, with some people stating that their children have been stung and it’s DNR’s fault. We do our best to squash the rumor when folks call, and once even had one of DNR’s entomologists go on the radio in Colville to tell people that not only does DNR not release yellow jackets, but “…no one releases yellow jackets.” However, when yellow jackets again became plentiful as they did this year, DNR’s Northeast Region Office once again received calls.
Part of the confusion may be that there are some beneficial wasps that provide important control of forest insects:
- Digger wasps locate a soil insect larva, tunnel down to anesthetize it, and lay an egg atop the prey to be a future feast.
- Potter wasps construct a clay chamber and lay one egg inside, provisioning the cell with an anesthetized caterpillar for the wasp larva to eat when it hatches.
- Ichneumonid wasps insert their eggs directly into the bodies of insect larvae, sometimes poking long ovipositors through the bark and outer wood of tree trunks to reach bark beetles and other wood boring insects.
- Trichogramma wasps are egg parasites, inserting their own tiny eggs directly into the eggs of other insects.
- The Douglas-fir tussock moth is parasitized and preyed on by more than 50 types of wasps and flies.
However, the last time that forest pest control wasps were intentionally released in eastern Washington was in the 1960s. Tiny parasitic wasps (Agathis pumila and Chrysocharis laricinellae) were released to combat a non-native insect, the “larch casebearer” (Coleophora laricella), a small caterpillar that defoliates western larch trees. Larch casebearers are so small they reside inside individual larch needles. The tiny wasps that prey on the casebearer caterpillars are much smaller than fruit flies and do not sting humans. That release some 50 years ago proved successful as larch trees are now much less vulnerable to casebearer caterpillar outbreaks. But we haven’t released similar insects since then and we’ve never released yellow jackets.
Why so many yellow jackets this year?
This seems to have been a banner year for yellow jackets, bald faced hornets, and similar stinging insects. It may have been related to the moderately cool spring weather conditions that boosted populations of aphids, a popular food source for yellow jackets and their ilk. Aphids are the full meal deal for yellow jackets: protein and fat when chewed up and eaten as “meat” but also “energy drink” or “dessert” when accessed for sugar. As aphids suck plant juices, they take in large volumes of sugary fluids, but not much protein. They keep sucking to obtain more protein, excreting extra, unneeded sugary fluid as droplets that are commonly called “honeydew.” Yellow jackets may collect the honeydew droplets from the aphids themselves or from the surfaces of stems, leaves, and parked cars in aphid-infested areas. It may have been the abundance of aphids and their honeydew droplets in the spring that allowed yellow jackets to thrive.
WSU Cooperative Extension has a bulletin that may help with recognizing and reducing problems associated with yellow jackets and paper wasps.
Ties to the Land – Succession Planning for Landowners: This award-winning curriculum was developed by estate planning experts at Oregon State University Extension and the Austin Family Business Program. The workshop is focused on maintaining family ties to the land from generation to generation, building awareness of key challenges facing family businesses, and motivating families to address those challenges. Dates for December are Saturday December 7 in Tonasket and Saturday December 14 in Ellensburg.
Forest Owners Winter School: Come in out of the snow for a day with other forest land owners and choose from over 20 classes. Subjects range from forest health, wildlife, and silviculture to hands-on chainsaw safety and maintenance. Loggers will get up to 6.0 CEUs.
- February 1, 2014, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm at the Community College Center, Colville, WA.
Forest Stewardship Coached Planning: Our flagship class will teach you how to assess your trees, avoid insect and disease problems, attract wildlife, and develop your own Forest Stewardship Plan to keep your forest on track to provide enjoyment and income for years to come.
WSU and the Oregon State University extension services have also posted several new publications:
Natural Insecticides: This Pacific Northwest Extension publication addresses common misconceptions associated with products labeled “natural” and “organic”, and describes related insecticides intended for home gardening. Categories include biological, botanical, fermented, horticultural oil, mineral, and soap. Readers will learn which types of natural insecticides are most effective for specific pests, how the products work, and application restrictions.
Identifying and Managing Mountain Beaver Damage to Forest Resources: The mountain beaver is a medium-sized rodent of the western Pacific Northwest. Mountain beavers cause damage to forest regeneration by clipping or girdling seedlings or saplings or both, and undermining roots. In this publication, the Oregon State University Extension Service describes methods to control mountain beaver, including trapping, toxicants, exclusion, repellents, and habitat modification. It offers a combination of methods used in an integrated management strategy.
Forest Soil Data for Your Forest Stewardship Plan: This manual is a step-by-step guide through the process of getting soil information from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Web Soil Survey (WSS).
Are you interested in learning more about programs that you may be eligible for as a small forest landowner?
The Small Forest Landowner Office (SFLO) offers assistance to landowners to help protect and promote the ecological and economic viability of your forestland. Our office strives to provide landowners with the knowledge and advice you need to meet your forest management objectives.
Click here to view our brochure and explore the programs that you may be eligible for!
Small forest landowners and other agricultural producers have until January 17, 2014 to apply for financial and technical assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQUIP). The program is designed to help landowners improve irrigation efficiency; manage nutrient run-off and/or animal waste; improve the health of native plant communities; and reduce soil loss. If additional funding is available, a second signup cut-off is set for March 21, 2014 and a third for May 16, 2014.
For more information regarding EQUIP funds, contact your local NRCS field office.
Program Manager for Vegetation Management and Access Maintenance
Bonneville Power Administration
Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has a safety motto that no job is so important or service so urgent that it can’t be done safely. BPA believes that this holds true for harvesting timber along high voltage power lines.
To be successful, timber harvest operators must take many variables into account. But when power lines are involved, even more thought and consideration are necessary to ensure that felled trees do not come into contact with energized power lines.
When this happens, flashover occurs where the energy contained within the conductor runs into the ground. A condition known as step-down occurs at the base and roots of the tree, where electricity radiates outward like ripples in a pond. It is within those ripples that property damage or fatalities can occur.
Flashover can occur even if a grounded object fails to come into contact with a power line but falls close enough. We call this flashover distance minimum vegetation clearance distance, or MVCD.
BPA has incurred an increased number of logger-caused outages across its service territory lately. Contributing factors have included not halting felling during strong wind events and not using guy lines or safety cables to assist in directional felling.
Here are some safety tips to ensure the safety of your timber harvest operations when felling trees near power lines:
- When reviewing your timber harvest plan, identify all targets that involve energized power lines to develop specific strategies for safe removal.
- Plan contingencies when variables change, such as ceasing felling operations when wind speed passes a certain threshold.
- Don’t leave logging fringe or a stringer of uncut trees along power lines.
- Don’t fuel equipment within the power line corridor.
- Avoid decking logs within the power line corridor.
- Ask the local utility for an onsite visit by a transmission line foreman or equivalent for consultation.
- Use safety lines of a non-conductive material to aid in directional felling.
- Never pull a tree, limb, or top off of an energized power line. Instead, contact the appropriate utility to address the problem.
If you have any questions, please contact me at 360) 418-2984 or via email: email@example.com.